As I’ve gotten my financial priorities lined up, I’ve noticed…ye gods, but it’s hard to find a hobby that doesn’t involve spending money, and boy is it hard to resist the urge to go into a shop! I like looking at pretty things, whether that’s dresses or furniture, home decor (lord, especially home decor!) candles, art, seeds, you name it, I like looking at it. The problem is, the more I look, the more I want to buy something, and even if it’s dirt cheap, it’s not a bargain if I don’t need it. Further, I’ve also got a terrible hankering for eating out, whether that’s a couple of beers and some chicken wings at the local pub, a quick pizza when I’m tired at night, or a few pieces of sushi. If i’m not careful, I nickle and dime the hell out of myself on food out. There are few things I like better than places to eat.
I need other activities that don’t involve spending or at the least don’t involve spending too much money. I’d also like to not be bored, so there is only so much of curling up with a laptop and some netflix movies that I can stand. Community events sometimes help. I recently went to a Chocolate Lover’s Day downtown, and for a mere $5 each, my friend and I walked around the downtown area to the various shops listed on the choco-map sampling all the chocolatey goodies. We ate well over $5 worth of chocolate, much of it homemade nomnoms. The chocolate cheesecake in the yarn and sewing shop was particularly delicious. I’m hoping to figure out how to get into more events like that.
The gym should factor into my daily life more, but it just doesn’t. This is appalling, as I’m paying for the membership every month straight out of my paycheck. It’s cheap, because I’m faculty, but still, it’s money wasted. There always seems to be something in the way of going, when in reality it’s just because I don’t prioritize taking care of myself. I also don’t look at the gym as fun. I see it as sweaty work. Maybe if I followed a session with a round in the pool and hot tub I would think differently. I’m already paying for it. It’s stupid not to get my money’s worth. And then I’d be too tired to think about nickle and diming myself for food out.
The bike, once I get into a higher gear than first, seems like it could be some nice and cheap amusement. With gas at $4 a gallon, the bike gets 70 miles to that gallon. My only fear is that I’ll try to stop in places along the way for a pit stop…involving beer and chicken wings. My solution to this is to try to orchestrate some fishing expeditions for the warmer days. I can put my collapsible pole and tackle in the saddlebags and zoom off for the afternoon. A fishing license even with a trout stamp is pretty cheap. And I have a couple of buddies ready to show me some great spots for fishing. Hopefully a day of being lazy in the sun with a pole will get me past the urge to pop myself into the corner shop and just see what’s in there.
If I am going to spend money on events, I’d rather it end up having some lasting effect. I’m headed to the Kentucky Derby soon — my annual pilgrimage to the state of my birth. Every Derby we try to do different activities. Sometimes we’ll go to concerts. Last year we went to the Kentucky Horse Park and saw some of the retired great horses, like Cigar. This year we’re doing something called “Sips and Strokes.” We’ll be walked through creating a painting appropriately called “Derby Girl” while we sip on wine. It’s for complete beginners and I’m very excited about it. It’s $40, but unless it becomes “Slips and Slurs” it’ll give me something to put on the wall back home.
One of the things I’m still kicking around is a monthly potluck. My sister has weekly dinners with her girlfriends, but I’m just not that coordinated. I could manage to do it once a month, though. I’ll have to see about getting this done. That would be lovely fun. Oooh, and there would be food too!
What are your suggestions for cheap amusements? Besides heckling passersby from my porch with a beer?